Which one is the best drawing books in 2021?



The best drawing books will teach you skills from figure drawing and cartoons to art theory.

best drawing books

The best drawing books dispel a major art myth, namely that art is about innate talent. By reading any of the drawing books on this page, you will find out that drawing is all about learning the right techniques and lots and lots of practise. With the right input, anyone can improve their drawing skills. 

Our guide to the drawing books you need to know about will help you to improve your knowledge, whether you're just starting out or you want to brush up on your existing skills. These books will help you improve your knowledge and provide you with brilliant inspiration and reference material. While this roundup is by no means exhaustive, our pick of the best drawing books are those we recommend for artists, or aspiring artists, of all experience levels.

For more handy tips and tricks to help improve your artwork, take a look at our roundup of how to draw tutorials, and our top sketching tips post.

01. The Sketchbook of Loish: Art in progress
This best drawing book delves deep into the sketch process

Publish date: 2018 | Publisher: 3dtotal Publishing | ISBN-10: 9781909414549

Features

  1. Insight into Loish's sketch process
  2. Two detailed tutorials
Renowned illustrator Loish wrote one of the best drawing books to give real insight into her process. The Sketchbook of Loish: Art in progress reveals how her rough sketches inform her work by offering a glimpse into her sketchbook. You'll get to see her speedpaints, studies and initial versions of her digital paintings, as well as pick up some invaluable tips and tricks along the way. 
You even get two detailed tutorials to get you sketching, and exclusive artwork. It's a book that's truly packed full of fascinating (and stunning) content, and is well worth a read for anyone passionate about illustration. 

02. Draw Great Characters

The best drawing book for character design
Publish date: 2019 | Publisher: Impact Books | ISBN-10: 144030081X

VIEW AT AMAZON - ₹1,680

  1. Beginner-friendlyLots of exercises
  2. Techniques are oddly at the end

Artists new to the world of character design can find it difficult to infuse their drawings with personality. Thankfully, this beginner-friendly book, Beverly Johnson Draw Great Characters, by children’s illustrator and character designer Beverly Johnson is here to show you how it’s done with a series of 75 art exercises. 

With chapters covering shape language, facial expressions, body language, interactions and more, this book tackles character design from every angle and finds refreshing approaches to the topic. These include a look at how settings communicate character, and thought exercises to keep you on your toes. Even experienced character designers could benefit from the prompts it provides. Each challenge also shows how Johnson has solved the brief, so you can see the theory in action. 

03. Sketching from the imagination: Creatures and monsters

An inspirational book on creating fantasy creatures

Publish date: 2020 | Publisher: 3Dtotal Publishing | ISBN-10: 978-1-909414-87-7

  1. Varied artwork
  2. Monochrome with pops of colour
  3. Lots of artistic insight
  4. No way to find specific subject matter or style of interest
  5. Format can get repetitive
Sketching from the imagination: Creatures & Monsters is a fascinating book, organised by artist, which displays fantasy creature designs. A varied subject selection provides drawings of everything from dragons and fairies to mechanical structures and aliens, in all stages of development. The majority of the artwork is in black and white; however, a number of full colour illustrations pop up randomly, making for a welcome change of pace in among the monochrome. A slight downside to this softcover is that there’s no easy way (unless you’re familiar with every artist) to quickly find a specific subject matter or style of interest.

On the whole there’s very little not to like about this book. The art is accessible and fascinating in its variety, and the artistic insight is a nice added extra. Creature artists are sure to enjoy all the eye candy on view, and it’s a bargain to boot.

04. Drawing the Head and Hands

A classic 40s drawing book, revived
Publish date: 2011 | Publisher: Titan | ISBN-10: 9780857680976

1 Amazon customer review
☆☆☆☆☆



  1. Loads of information
  2. Detailed instruction
  3. Classic bookQuite dense
Andrew Loomis Drawing the Head and Hands is a classic, and is excellent if you're looking for a solid foundation on drawing hands and heads. 

There's a ton of info inside, so you'll want to take it slow, especially if you struggle with drawing hands. Loomis' explanations are detailed and engaging, and it's hands-down (pun intended) the best anatomy reference book despite its age. 

Loomis' systematic approach will help you understand the principles behind drawing realistic portraits. Aside from the benefits of learning how to draw, Drawing the Head and Hands makes an excellent coffee table book too.


05. Pocket Art: Portrait Drawing

An inspirational, compact book for all levels

Publish date: 2018 | Publisher: Rockport Publishers | ISBN-10: 1631594699 | ISBN-13: 978-1631594694

Pocket Art: Portrait Drawing



28 Amazon customer reviews - ☆☆☆☆☆

  1. Manageable sections 
  2. Good for all levels 
  3. Some may prefer more copy

This Pocket Art: Portrait Drawing: The Quick Guide to Mastering Technique and Style art guide is perfect for those artists looking to improve their portraiture skills. Artist Miss Led (real name Joanna Henly) breaks down the stages of portrait drawing into manageable, easy-to-understand sections, covering how to best approach creating beautiful portraits in a range of styles.  

Aimed at beginners and experienced artists alike, this 112-page book acts as a solid introduction to portrait drawing techniques, but also looks at how professional artists can create fine art and commercial-style illustrations. The handy-sized book is full of expert advice and tips, backed up by plenty of exercises for readers to put into practice. Copy is minimal but covers everything it needs to, leaving more space for Miss Led’s beautiful art.  

This manual is well designed, clearly written, and you’ll be hard pushed to find a bag it doesn’t fit in. Like all good tutorial-style books, it works because it’s accessible to artists of every skill level. Packed with inspirational art and very affordable, Pocket Art: Portrait Drawing comes highly recommended.  

Aimed at beginners and experienced artists alike, this 112-page book acts as a solid introduction to portrait drawing techniques, but also looks at how professional artists can create fine art and commercial-style illustrations. The handy-sized book is full of expert advice and tips, backed up by plenty of

06. Drawn to Life

This drawing book focuses on capturing the moment

Publish date: 2009 | Publisher: Focal Press | ISBN-10: 0240810961

415 Amazon customer reviews - ☆☆☆☆☆

Drawn to Life


  1. Focus is on emotion and action
  2. Lots of gesture drawing
  3. Very dense
  4. Less concerned with technical accuracy

Walt Stanchfield Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes: Volume 1: The Walt Stanch field Lectures is a super-dense drawing book that you'll need to read slowly. Stanch field takes a different approach to learning how to draw by focusing more on the emotions, life and action than proportions and technical accuracy. 

With a heavy focus on gesture drawing, don't expect a book filled with finished drawings. Drawn to Life is about capturing the moment. If you're interested in creating drawings with character and flow, this is a must-have reference. 

07. The Sketch Encyclopedia

Never run out of sketching ideas
Publish date: 2018 | Publisher: 3DTotal | ISBN-10: 1909414646


32 Amazon customer reviews - ☆☆☆☆☆

  1. Breaks projects down into steps
  2. Packed with ideas
  3. Intro on drawing theory

If you're looking for some warm up sketch ideas, 3DTotal Publishing The Sketch Encyclopedia: Over 900 drawing projects is a great place to start. This drawing book breaks down each project, of which there are over 1,000, into four key steps (sketch, line drawing, and two that build up and complete the form) – making it easy to follow along. With lessons on creatures, people, buildings, famous landmarks, vehicles and nature, you're sure to find something to get you started. 

The Sketch Encyclopedia also includes an extensive introduction covering tools, line making, light theory, perspective and texture.